Who isn’t familiar with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chaconne, the final movement in his Partita in d minor for Violin solo? Time and again composers have been inspired to make this exceptional piece accessible for other instruments. Perhaps the best-known arrangement is by Ferruccio Busoni. Without distancing himself too greatly from Bach’s original, he endeavours to transpose the virtuosity of the string writing onto the piano. Thus Busoni wrote for the piano in a way that congenially makes the most of the capabilities of the modern piano. Our Urtext edition not only takes into account the traditional sources but also meticulously analyses a piano roll in great depth on which Busoni himself can be heard. The fingerings were provided by none other than Marc-André Hamelin.
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Few composers have dealt with the music of one of their colleagues on so many levels as did Ferruccio Busoni (1866 – 1924) with that of Johann Sebastian Bach. Busoni’s profound interest in Bach emerges not only in his many piano transcriptions of original Bach works – such as the Chaconne presented here – but also in many of Busoni’s own works, which display … more
About the composer
Important composer, pianist, conductor, and music essayist who advocated for classicality and classicism in a mode of thought aligned with progress. In addition, he adapted and transcribed quite a few works, especially those of Johann Sebastian Bach.
|1866||Born in Empoli on April 1, the son of a clarinetist and a pianist. His parents foster his musical education. Prodigy: early career as a pianist.|
|1887||String Quartet in D minor, Op. 26.|
|from 1888||Piano instructor in Helsinki, Moscow, and Boston.|
|1890||Participates in the piano and composition categories of the Rubinstein Competition in St. Petersburg with his Sonata No. 1 in E minor, for violin and piano, Op. 29; the Two Pieces for Piano, Op. 30a; and Konzertstück for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 31a. This last piece wins the first prize in composition.|
|1894||Moves to Berlin.|
|1897/1904||Comedy Overture, Op. 38.|
|1903–04||Concerto, Op. 39, for piano, orchestra, and male choir in five movements with a concluding choral movement.|
|1907||Essay: “Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music.”|
|1909||“Berceuse élégiaque,” Op. 42.|
|1909–10||Second tour of America.|
|1910||“Fantasia contrappuntistica” for piano as an attempt to find a conclusion for Bach’s “Art of Fugue.”|
|1912||Performance in Hamburg of his opera “Die Brautwahl” (“The Bridal Choice”).|
|1913||Director of the Liceo Musicale in Bologna.|
|1915||Rondò arlecchinesco, Op. 46.|
|1915–20||Living in Zurich, due to the war.|
|1917||Performances in Zurich of his operas “Turandot” and “Arlecchino”; they draw upon the Commedia dell’arte.|
|1920||Director of a master class at the Prussian Arts Academy in Berlin. Tanzwalzer, Op. 53.1922 Essay “On the Unity of Music.”|
|1924||Dies in Berlin on July 27.|
|1925||Posthumous performance in Dresden of his opera “Doktor Faust.”|
About the authors
Henle's 19-page edition is based upon this last authorised version. Busoni's fingering is marked in italics, while Marc-André Hamelin's unobtrusive suggestions are also included. An interesting, two-page preface outlining the history of the work, a critical commentary and comments on the piano roll of Busoni's performance of the piece complete an excellent package.
(...) this urtext is his final (1916) word on the piece.
Seine Chaconne hat Busoni mehrmals umgearbeitet und auch auf einer Klavierrolle eingespielt. Alle daraus resultierenden Einsichten hat der G. Henle Verlag nun in einer mustergültigen Neuausgabe vereint, zusammen mit kongenialen Fingersätzen des kanadischen Virtuosen Marc-André Hamelin.
Of hieruit een ware Urtext voortkomt zal discutabel blijven, maar absoluut duidelijk is dat deze uitgave van Busoni's bewerking thans met afstand de grondigst onderzochte is.